Singapore (CU)_ According to Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, the new high-level roundtable between Singapore and India will allow both nations to improve their ties in several areas and identify mutual benefits through cooperation. He stated that several new areas of collaboration have been agreed upon by both parties. The areas are food and energy security, green technology, especially green hydrogen, digital connectivity, and skill development.
Finance Minister Wong said, “We look forward to the India-Singapore Ministerial Roundtable as a new regular platform for both sides to meet on an ongoing basis to coordinate and oversee these new areas of cooperation”. He added, “These areas of cooperation between India and Singapore will not only serve our two countries, but can serve as catalysts and pathfinders for broader cooperation in plurilateral or multilateral platforms. In that way, India and Singapore can play a role together to secure a more stable and prosperous Asia-Pacific.”
Wong spoke to Singaporean media at the conclusion of his five-day trip to India. Together with Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong, and Transport Minister S.Iswaran, who is also Minister-in-Charge of Trade Relations, he commenced the first roundtable. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, External Affairs Minister S.Jaishankar, and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal represented India at the meeting.
According to Wong, both parties had been debating for some time on how to take their relationship to new heights, and ultimately chose to use the roundtable as a forum to methodically increase collaboration. According to him, it will likely occur annually. It should also be adaptable to changing requirements. For instance, other ministers might join based on their respective responsibilities. He stated that the initial roundtable began with only ministers present and no officials, so that they could have a frank and open dialogue.
In addition, they asked a number of business executives from both sides to participate in a parallel conversation. Wong stated, “It was striking that they too found many opportunities for cooperation, similar to the areas that were discussed by the ministers”. He said, “Many of them were very excited about the possibilities for doing more with India. They have seen the efforts of reforms and the digitalisation measures bearing fruit, they have seen the start-up ecosystem becoming more vibrant. The bottom line is, both sides are fully committed to strengthening our bilateral relationship and taking it to a new level”.
The industry luminaries who participated in the business roundtable are the CEO of Temasek, Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara, the CEO of DBS Bank, Piyush Gupta, and the CEO of GIC, Lim Chow Kiat. Wong stated that there were several ways in which both sides may complement one another. He said, “If you look at what India has achieved with its digitalisation efforts and explosive growth of start-ups and fintech companies, there is considerable potential there”. He added, “At the same time, Singapore is a financial center. We also have been able to grow a vibrant fintech ecosystem within Singapore… it serves a much broader region. There certainly are possibilities for us to work together, for fintech companies to come together and explore.”